Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.

BA in South and Southeast Asian Studies




What will I learn?

South and Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse areas. Interested in understanding the complexity of the region’s history, languages, and cultures in the context of its rapidly developing economies? This is your programme!

In the South and Southeast Asian Studies programme you gain a strong foundation in the academic, language and critical thinking skills essential to understanding the history, culture and modern context of this dynamic, fast-growing region.

Programme overview

First year

In your first year you will follow core courses designed to give you a basic understanding of the history, cultures, and modern societies of South and Southeast Asia. In addition you will follow elective courses of your own choosing. You choose to study one of four languages: Hindi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Indonesian. This language study makes up a third of your study programme in Years one and two. In your first year you also choose between introductory courses on three major religions of the region, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

Second year

In year two you will opt for one of two thematic specializations or ‘tracks’, ‘Modern South and Modern Southeast Asia’ and ‘Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia’, each with its own range of elective courses to choose from. It will also be possible to follow one course from the other track if you wish so. In addition you will attend a seminar in which you will learn to develop your academic skills, and continue studying the language you chose in the first year.

Third year

In the first half of Year three, students learning Hindi and Indonesian will spend a semester abroad in (respectively) India or Indonesia taking classes at a local university. This experience of linguistic and cultural immersion is a signature element of the programme; for students of Sanskrit and Tibetan, parallel options are available. In the second semester you write a thesis on a topic of your own choosing under the supervision of a member of the teaching staff. There is also plenty of room to take electives, including courses from outside the programme.

The Bachelor’s in South and Southeast Asian Studies is a unique multidisciplinary programme that integrates the culture, religion, history, sociology, economics and politics of the region. You choose to study Hindi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Indonesian.

Programme outline

All students of Hindi and Indonesian spend the first semester of Year 3 abroad in Asia for intensive language studies, a hallmark of this programme. Students will take their semester abroad at, respectively, the University of Hyderabad (India) or Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia). This immersion enables you to quickly obtain a command of a new language, while contact with local people helps you develop intercultural understanding and skills. There are parallel options for students studying Tibetan or Sanskrit. You can also decide to study in another European country.

After graduation

Graduates of South and Southeast Asian Studies are attractive candidates for employers in many different fields. This is due to your broad knowledge of the region and the language, academic and practical skills you have acquired. You can work, for example, as a researcher, consultant, museum curator or a P&O officer.

Your career prospects

Do you want to follow a full academic programme? After obtaining your bachelor’s degree you can continue with a master’s programme. Once you have successfully completed your master’s you will have earned the title Master of Arts (MA). Your master’s diploma will increase your chances of finding a job or academic-level position.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees
€10,716.00 (9,56,786) per year
Application deadline

Expected April 2024

More details

Start date

4 September 2023


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants can be admitted with an equivalent of a Dutch pre-university education (VWO) diploma. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic modules only. Minimum score of 6.5 overall; The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score of 90 overall (internet based). Original test results should be sent directly by the Educational Testing Service, Institutional TOEFL tests are not accepted; Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English/ Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (grade A-C) or CPE/CAE 180. Cambridge A-Levels in three general, academic subjects with grades A-C. Must have High School Diploma, College Preparatory programme with: A minimum GPA of 3.5/4.0, and Three College Board APs (grades 4-5) in different subjects (not accepted are: AP studio Art, AP Capstone, AP Research, or AP Seminar). When applying, please upload your SAT (or ACT) exam scores, College Board results and information on your schools accreditation. In exceptional cases, if sufficient AP scores and/or GPA cannot be submitted, SAT general scores > 1200 (or ACT composite scores > 28), may be taken into account.

For international students

Students must have an equivalent of a Dutch pre-university education (VWO) diploma. If your diploma does not meet these requirements you may still be admitted, on condition that you sit additional exams.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic modules only - Minimum score of 6.5; The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Minimum scores is 90 (internet based); Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English/ Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (grade A-C) or CPE/CAE 180.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


Get in touch